Yes, we're back in the states now, but I got behind on blogging about our trip, so I am attempting to catch up on the days I missed!
Okay, I'm getting a little ahead of myself with that blog post title because York Minster was not our first stop in York, but it was certainly the most memorable. We took the train from Edinburgh to York before heading back to London, and it was definitely worth the stop.
York is celebrating their 800 year anniversary this year. The city has a defensive wall all around it. You can walk along the edge and get a wonderful view. Hubs and I had a lively discussion about how exactly one would lift a cauldron of boiling oil to pour on one's enemies. hehe
The downtown section of York looks like Disneyland, with narrow, cobblestone streets lined with shops and teeming with people. Perhaps because it wasn't raining (for the first time in days), but folks were out in force. Hen parties (bachelorette parties where the ladies all dress up in wild clothing) were everywhere. We must have seen a dozen different groups. That, and the clusters of young men going on pub crawls lent the city a very hip, fun atmosphere in general.
We spent a fair amount of time enjoying the gardens outside St. Mary's Abbey (another ruin courtesy of King Henry VIII).
By the time we reached this point in our trip, we'd seen some pretty impressive (and old) churches. But nothing, and I do mean nothing, could top York Minster. Sadly, there is no way to capture the beauty and grandeur of this church in a photograph.
I could post a dozen photos for you here, but still not convey the majesty of this place. I did a Google search to see if I could find something online to portray its magnificence, but everything falls short.
York Minster looks much like other towering church buildings from the outside, but it's the inside that sets it apart, for a couple of reasons. Unlike Westminster Abbey (which is really a Who's Who of Important Dead People), York Minster is focused on God, not on people. The whole atmosphere of the church was bathed in worship, rather than primarily being a collection of tombs. There were a handful of those (most notably one for an archbishop dating back to the early 1200s- wow!), but Christ was the focal point of this church.
But what sets York Minster apart most of all was the height of the building in the center. Imagine standing in a sky scraper lobby and having it open all the way to the top with light streaming in through colored glass windows all around. The center of the building is 102 feet high and you have to tilt your head all the way back to take it in. It's almost impossible to do so without your mouth falling open in sheer awe. Incredible. Not only that, but the men's choir was rehearsing while we were there, the rich tones of their voices echoing throughout the church. I tell you, if you ever have the chance to visit York Minster, do it. You won't be disappointed!